Driving the excesses of US health care

I'm worrying about the health care system I am about to move back into, if only for a year.  I used to think that although Americans paid too much (for the same drugs and equipment Europeans pay less for), they did really have the best health care.  But I just had two super-clear examples of the excessive treatment which can be bad for you as well as causing overspend yesterday.
  • Because I turned 50 I had a check up to tell if I was at risk for heart disease.  Apparently in the USA they just put you straight on heart medications.  I had a 15 minute interview & checkup by a nurse and got told I had a 4% chance of developing heart disease in the next decade so I should come back annually for monitoring.
  • The reason it was as high as 4% was that I had a crazy high cholesterol level.  They also asked me to come back in six months having not eaten within the previous 12 hours so they can check again.  I realised after I left that maybe the problem was that I had a rather heavy black-pudding salad for dinner rather late the previous night (in a pub).  One of my friends told me (over social media) he had the same experience only involving a pork roast he'd cooked and wound up slightly over eating, and he'd been put immediately on cholesterol medication with no further checks.
In both these cases what is probably not really much of a medical threat is in the UK being treated by checking again, the cost being my time and the time of a nurse (which I don't pay – this was all just a free walk in as are all my visits to the doctor in the UK.)  In the US, it is the pharmaceutical industry that benefits from the extra drug prescription, not the doctors and not necessarily the patients.  In fact, the doctors get less business, so a policy of over-defensiveness in medical application is directing  money to the technology (drug) makers, not to being certain of what's wrong.  Note that over-medication is also an environmental problem, that affects drinking water and wildlife.


CJ said…
As always you need to decide for yourself.

Lawyers- many like to sue doctors.

If cholesterol is really an issue, change your lifestyle.